County clears Gill House renovations

Syracuse native Steven E. Vollmer plans to extensively renovate the former Gill House restaurant and hotel in Henderson Harbor. Provided photo

HENDERSON — Plans to reopen the former Gill House in Henderson Harbor cleared a hurdle on Tuesday.

The Jefferson County Planning Board reviewed site plans to renovate the historic restaurant and hotel at 13565 County Route 123.

Syracuse native Steven E. Vollmer, who lives in Arizona but is a Henderson seasonal resident, purchased the property for $530,000 from Thirty One Development LLC, Watertown, whose principal is developer P.J. Simao.

Mr. Vollmer plans to reopen the Gill House, which has been dormant for a number of years, next spring.

Plans call for extensively renovating the 1,830-square-foot building with 11 guest rooms, a bar dining area and outside seating. A new gravel parking lot will be added on the side yard and in back of an existing one. In all, there will be 34 spaces.

“The additional parking is welcomed in the harbor,” Senior Planner Andy R. Nevin said, noting a lack of off-street parking.

Mr. Nevin said that runoff into the lake from vehicles in the parking lot could be a concern. The local municipality also will have to deal with zoning that prohibits parking in side yards.

Last month, the town’s planning board reviewed the site plans. Now that the plans went before the county planning board, Henderson is expected to approve the site plans on Oct. 5.

The county meeting was held virtually.

Mr. Vollmer, a landscape architect who graduated from Syracuse University, has been a visitor to the Henderson area since childhood and enjoyed dining at the Gill House with his family.

The Gill House has not operated in recent years. The inn on Lake Ontario was built in 1813 as a resort hotel and was called the Frontier House. It was purchased by Hugh H. Gill around the turn of the 20th century and renamed the Gill House.

The building also has been known at times throughout its history as the Charter House Inn and Yankee Barbecue.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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